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Collegeport Articles

October 1935


By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


We who live at sea level do not realize the effect a mile high has on one's mental vision, so the writer of the following may be excused, but anyway, it's from a Tribune reader who lives out Where the West Begins: "I was so interested in the Matagorda Tribune describing the festivities in Collegeport and the grand new Mopac House. It surely is a feather in your cap and to think that you have been instrumental in procuring such a desirable place for Collegeport and then had the nerve to 'see it through.' You deserve a lot of praise and I know all Collegeport is grateful to you and proud to have you their A-1 citizen. I've always read your 'Thoughts' so much and it is good to read them again. They are always so witty and have such good common sense, too." That shows the result of living and breathing a rarified atmosphere, so the reader must needs read with caution. Anyway, it listens good to us, meaning I and the miserable wretch. Each time we read it, it is like another sniff at a bottle of rare perfume, a lasting sweet odor.


Remember the organ man with the monkey? How I wish one of those dark-skinned men with big rings in his ear would come to Homecroft and play his organ. What fun to watch the monkey waddle up the gallery with his little red cap holding it out for a penny. I have not seen or heard a hand organ for many years, but wish I might go back to those days once more. And then the big man with the dancing bear. How that bear would dance at the end of his chain. Wonder where the bear and organ men are. I hope wherever they may be that they will hear beautiful music.


I am not a resident of Bay City, hence what the people of that fine little city do is no business of mine. I do not vote there and I pay no Bay City taxes, therefore if I mind my own business, I will be right in the right, but to a man sitting in "El Sol" the proposition to put in a municipal light plant appears to be a silly project. The Central Power and Light Company is giving most of the folks of Matagorda County excellent service. It employs many people. Some of them have lived in the county for years. This is their home. The company pays taxes for roads, schools, in the city and in the county. It is a decided asset and a splendid going concern definitely tied up in the progress and development of the county. Its service is above reproach and its rates are fair. It is officered by substantial business men. They are our friends and neighbors. Take away the business they now enjoy and the county and city loses good citizens and a very handsome tax income. A municipal plant will also show a profit because like all such projects, its capital will be supplied by the people. It will pay no taxes and will have no capital charge. It will therefore furnish service at a low rate on the bill, but back of that and unseen and unfelt will be the tax burden of a big bond issue. These invisible taxes will be added to the service charge, cost the users of electrical service considerable more than the present charge for similar service, but the people will feel no pain for they will be paying their bills under the influence of an anesthetic. What a howl would be raised if some bright mind would start a project to put on a bond issue for the purpose of starting a municipal drug store, grocery store, dry goods store or a daily paper. Oh, me! Oh, my goodness! I think such a project would be a grand idea. It would not be anything like as silly as the idea being fostered. Just putting my oar into waters where I have no business.


My hens took a day off yesterday and I found only one egg. It was a good egg, but it showed the hen's good will, for at least they try, which is more than many people do.


For five days we have enjoyed a continuous downpour of what Ben R. Mowery calls the equinoctial. Maybe he is right and maybe not, but it has been one helluva rain, something like ten inches and a never-ceasing torrent. For five days no sunshine. It has played rough house for the rice men, for the fields have been so bogged with mud that the largest tractors were unable to move the loads. Threshing stopped. Men had worked in the rain and mud until exhausted. Sometime the sun will shine again and maybe rice will bring a better price. Cotton hangs like dirty ribbons and billows in the breeze.


After six full days of rain and mud this Sunday morning the sun rose on a clear sky and all nature smiles. The sun looks beautiful and its warming rays bring needed relief to us shivering, thin-blooded, sensitive community.


Mopac House will have a program Thanksgiving night, so mark your old almanac. On or about October 25th Mopac House will hold another social gathering with many surprises. Opportunity for King to sell out her store of pop. Exact date will be announced later, but better mark the 25th on the old almanac.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, October 2, 1935



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


The miserable wretch just loves to snuggle with her face close to the back of my neck and how she can snore. Think I'll organize an anti-snore association if enough of you boys have the same experience. She just burrs away as if life was a grand joy. I urge fellow sufferers to respond. Let's organize the MPA or Men's Protective Association.


Tuesday I received a sad message announcing the passing of Elizabeth Ruthven, the daughter of my old-time friend Duncan. It was not unexpected for I had known for months of the brave but losing fight the little girl was putting up. Little girl! I like to think of her as I used to know her. About 300 people were present at the funeral to show their respects for the parents. Because of this, flowers were not necessary, but they were there in more than abundance. Great masses of beautiful blooms shedding their perfume on the air just as Elizabeth shed the perfume of her short life on those dear to her. The service was conducted by Rev. Mr. Gillespie in his usual friendly manner. He is a good man. Interment in the local [Palacios] cemetery.


"Iram indeed is gone with all his rose,

And Jamshyd's sev'n-ring'd cup where no one knows,

But still a Ruby kindles in the vine,

And many a Garden by the water blows."



Wednesday, as the guest of Mrs. Carl Boeker and Ruth, I spent at "Ruth's" which is another way to spell "Conoco." They operate a cafe for the Continental Oil Company. A neat building painted in the Conoco green, well screened and equipped with furniture for successful operation. I had the pleasure of eating the noon meal with the Conoco boys. The service was green glass and the food was all that one might ask in quantity, quality. We had roast beef, rice with gravy, candied yams, mashed potatoes, home-baked beans, sliced tomatoes and onions, bread, cream pie, apple sauce and coffee. All just as tasty and refreshing as the house itself. Mother and daughter worked together like two sisters.


The oil well is an immense affair. It is in the old Fief place, a trifle south of six miles east of Homecroft. Just now the roads are excellent. The derrick has a twenty-foot spread and is 136 feet high, and although it looks slender, it is really a very heavy string of tools. Everything about the place is sturdy, the best that money can buy. I counted thirty men at work. Four boilers of 125 horse-power each were roaring away and I found nine immense fuel oil tanks and a big pond for water supply. While there, six or seven large trucks came in with loads of cement and I estimate that on hand now is as much as five or six carloads. As many as ten to twelve heavy trucks loaded with new and heavy machinery with which I was told they expect to handle the heaving shale. It was interesting to see them unload a piece of machinery that must have weighed four or five tons. Doing this they used their brains instead of brawn. Everything big, expensive and useful. One man said the well was down 6800 feet, but was not sure and said he "We are told to do certain things and we do them and that is about all we know except the rumor that she is making a good show." About one-fourth mile to the west a landing field for planes is being prepared. About forty acres all mowed and made smooth. A place of much activity from "Ruth's" to the Conoco well. Glad I went out with the Boeker girls.


I am thinking of the crullers Gramma Austin used to make. Tasty, crispy and crunchy. A pan full of golden crullers. Wonder where all the cruller makers went. Haven't see or crunched a cruller for nigh on sixty years. Gramma was a real artist when it came to cruller, doughnuts, apple pie and animal cookies. She made elephants, lions, dogs, cats and what fun we had with the owl cookies. Owls with currant eyes that seemed to blink and wink. We soon fixed that blink. Oh dear, sweet Gramma, how I wish you would come back and let me feel your comforting arms as I munch a cruller.


While I was in Palacios, I was introduced to a gentle, modest little woman, the mother of Louise Sharp. She told me she subscribed to The Tribune so she might read "Thoughts." Shows she knows and enjoys good stuff. Wish she would visit us some day. I have an ambition to take a cruise with Louise some of these days (I said days) and catch a coupla of shrimp, and mayhap I will if Louise still feels the same way.


Friday Seth W. Corse, judge of the Seventh Judicial District started on a three-weeks visit to Ed Corse at Greenburg, Kansas. Seth told ne that for twenty-five years he had not been outside of Texas except three times when he visited Houston. I hope he avoids strange women with fixed hair and pulled eyebrows and takes no wooden money. He is bound to have a happy time and will come home refreshed and full of interesting tales. Seth is one of my dearest friends.


Thursday night, October 24, 1935, Mopac House will hold another social. This one will be featured with a grab bag. The bag will contain all sorts of novel things, such as rings, brooches, hats, horns, clappers, watches, more than one hundred articles will be in that wonder bag. Each person who attends is asked to bring some article to place in the bag with the others. Nothing expensive is expected. A pencil, 5-cent bottle of paste, a ring, a banana--anything that will help fill the bag. Each article to be wrapped so as to hide its identity. If you have nothing for the bag, don't let that keep you away. We want everyone in the community to be present and an evening of great fun is promised.


Thanksgiving night another social affair will be held, but the program has not been arranged. Go to Citrus Grove at noon that day and then to Mopac House that night.


Friday, Mrs. Patricia Martyn made her quarterly visit to this community. She is a busy woman, for since January 1, this is her third call. Just too bad of for us adnoiders and tonsillitors. She brought with her my good friend, Mrs. Dismukes. She reports that the Beacon still shines. It is a newsy sheet and much of its delicious stuff is due to Mrs. Dismukes' activity.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, October 10, 1935



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


A traveling tobacco salesman here Wednesday remarked that Collegeport per capita used more smoking, chewing tobacco and snuff than any community in Matagorda County, and, that if other places would do as well, the county would be a paradise for tobacco men. Isn't that grand? Now, if we only had such a reputation as consumers of booze, we sure would have some repute. Publicity is wonderful.


Mrs. Patricia Martyn was here Monday on professional business looking the school children over. She reported that of 3000 children who had been treated for deficient eye and throat trouble, seventy-five per cent had shown remarkable improvement after mouth examination and treatment. This is most certainly a splendid record.


The grab-bag social at Mopac House Thursday night, October 24, 1935, will be an informal affair and therefore white ties, diamond studs and tails will not be required. If you desire to do so, bring some article for the bag, but come anyway. Oh, yes, Mrs. Liggett's choir will be present to lead in singing. Perhaps we may induce Mrs. Benjamin Ritter Mowery to be there with her trained pooches. Perhaps W. H. Boeker will deliver a talk on "How to Run a Grocery Store" Well, anyway, there will be much fun.


Another oil well has been added to the battery at the oil well, so there are now five big boilers. Bunk houses are to be erected so those who desire to stay all night may do so. Hot water has been piped into Ruth's cafe, which is a grand idea. Everything about the oil well spells permanence and already it begins to look like a town.


In Java the girls put big rings in the nose and lips. Here they paint their toenails with bright red. Both barbarous customs intended to attract the male.


Thursday, Miss Carter visited the Collegeport Woman's Club, sponsor for the local Girl Reserves. The reserves seem to be on the fade, as much less than a quorum was present. Mrs. L. E. Liggett was chosen as the delegate to the Freeport regional meeting held Saturday, the 12th. Interesting talks by Mesdames Hurd, Liggett and Clapp. A few new members arrived.


The same the local school put on a "Night of Pleasure," featuring a radio program. That the program pleased the audience is evidenced by the receipt of more than $40 for the school fund. In the hands of Superintendent Cherry every cent will be used for school purposes. Mr. Cherry is just another man and his wife makes delicious peach pies.


Friday the library was open as usual and put out seventy-six books and registered thirty callers. About 65 new books, the gift of the Goodman family of Houston, are now on the shelves. The library boasts of something like 1800 books. The new room provided by Mopac House is already well filled and cries for another bank of shelves.


The Mopac management is looking up the proper material for finishing the floor and making it better for dancing. Soon as a permanent finish is in place, another dance will be given. Steve Gardner of the Palacios pavilion has offered to bring his orchestra over and play for a Mopac dance. That will be grand for us burghers. Well, anyway, don't forget to put your hand in the grab-bag Thursday night, October 24th. Might pull out a diamond ring, perhaps, like Little Jack Horner, you might pull out a plum.


Seth Corse writes that he is having a great time with excellent food and service. Now enroute to his old play ground, Pueblo, Colorado.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, October 17, 1935



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


...our County Agent, F. O. Montague, although away above his eyes in cotton work, finds time to bring a bunch of TB experts down here and in a few days we will begin a campaign to clean up dairy cattle which react to the TB test. About nine experts in this work will cover the county and it will be just another stop in advance. Monty just keeps on the job, talking little, doing much.


The King's Daughters met Thursday with Mrs. Cherry with small attendance for seven of the girls had important business elsewhere. Their absence did not interrupt the fine luncheon or religious service, both of them going on as usual. I planned to attend, but as soon as I was told that Mrs. Cherry would not put on the table one of apricot pies, I decided to stay at home with the miserable wretch. If the daughters want my company at next meeting, just provide one of those Cherry apricot pies.


It is sure scandalous when a man has a "Vice" that moves about from hither to thither. Friday I heard that my "Vice" was running around Freeport. I'll have to round up Vice.


Tuesday there arrived at the postoffice a big box from Chicago addressed to Mopac House. This box contains one hundred articles of value for the "Grab Bag" social to be held in Mopac House Thursday night, October 24, 1935. It is hoped that those who attend will bring other articles wrapped so as to hide the identity and thus add to the grab-bag. The social is free and every soul in the burg is invited to be present and select a valuable watch or diamond ring, or maybe a pussytail.


Most all have heard of F. O. Montague, but here comes John Montague escorting his mother and Miss Ruby Lunn for a visit to us Homecrofters. Last time I saw John he was having considerable trouble over a sweater. Thursday all went well with him for he needed no sweater. Well, we had a most delightful visit and hope they will drift down again inside the next four years. With them came a most beautiful basket of flowers--just a gift from Monty telling us of his love and affection. The flowers will last for weeks and then the memory will linger long after the roses have faded. God be thanked for our many fine friends, among them the Montys.


The library was opened as usual Friday with Mesdames Hurd and Liggett in attendance. The miserable wretch, being a little under, was unable to be present. From present outlook she will be at the desk this week.


I am having a round of screw worms. Never in the twenty-five years I have handled dairy cattle have I seen such a nasty difficult mess. Just a fight day by day, but it looks as though the worst was over. I read that there is much trouble over the South cattle country, with losses as high as ten million dollars. Terrible thing, so let us hope for cold weather, which will kill off the pests that breed these nasty worms.


Oil well closed down the past week for a new set of pipe. Supposed to start drilling in a few days. Only a day crew at work this week.


While out driving with Jane Ackerman the other day she told me that her father's rice crop would soon be in and she would be glad for she had been doing the cooking for the outfit. Fine stuff for such a little Jane.


Roberta Liggett wears white pants with a red stripe down the side. Looks much better than red on the toenails.


The Palatial Pharmacy is putting on a new drink. It has an Ethiopian name something like Sassy-see. Ask Hattie about it.


When Henry Legg left here the other night with thirty sacks of rice he felt quite smart, but when he arrived at the warehouse he had only fifteen sacks. Wonder how come? Quite a loss, anyway.


The Corporon brothers cleaned up their rice with an average of fifteen sacks per acre, and Vern Batchelder made seventeen. Pretty good crops for new ricers.


George Harrison and James Gartrell are in the most beautiful city in the world hobnobbing with Franklin D., and we hope they arrange the cash for the Portsmouth road, and, by the way, they might talk to Franklin about the causeway. My interest in that project is solely because we, meaning I and the miserable wretch, desire to walk over to attend service at St. John's Chapel. For that reason only, everyone should give the project a boost.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, October 24, 1935



By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


Mrs. Carl Boeker, who is the assistant at Ruth's cafe out at the oil well, while putting a bit of time in the local store trying to sell Luxury _____, told me that the drilling would no doubt be resumed Monday.


This is good news to all of us observers. The other day, so it is said, a man who, from his clerical dress, was a clergyman, visited the well and climbed on the platform where the men were working. He asked, "How deep is the well?" and one of the boys replied, "We are down to hell." The reverend felt insulted and calling one of the officials suggested that an apology was due him. The official asked why and was informed that the worker had said "The well was down to hell." The official laughed and replied, "That fellow is wrong, for we passed through hell last week." Just shows that drilling an oil well is one helluva business. If you doubt this tale, call at the Palatial Pharmacy, and while inhaling one of those "Sasses" ask Hattie, for she sees all, hears all, knows all.


Good catches of trout and red the past week. Andy Jones fishes in Pilkington slough with fine luck, and Shoemaker, who is a guest at the Ramsey farm, uses a boat and goes out to the channel. Being duly sworn, he deposes and says that the trout were just too thick for the amount of bait on hand and after securing a good string, he was obliged to quit for the trout had eaten all of the bait.


The grab-bag social held in Mopac House Thursday night provided much wholesome amusement and fun. Because of the threatening weather, only about thirty-five were present, but they all had an evening of fun. Age was forgotten and all were boys and girls. The articles in the bag ranged from fans, watches, rings, masks, paper hats to soap, perfume, baking powder, mince meat each article giving full value in cents or in fun. The ladies of the Woman's Club sold candy and Mrs. Cherry brought one of those famous and delectable apricot pies. Soon as I rested my good left eye on that apricot pie, I told my cashier, who is the miserable wretch, to enter into negotiations for its purchase, and as a result I had pie before I buried in the husks for the night. Gosh, boy, but when there is an opportunity to feed yourself with Cherry apricot pie, don't fail to place your money, for it is a sure bet. A number of valuable articles are still in the bag, so perhaps we will have another social.


That was a happy surprise when Rev. and Mrs. Paul Engle came to visit us last Monday. The hour was all too short. Paul Engle never forgets us isolates and to him we owe thanks for the community privilege every year. He is the good pastor of his parish.


I have a copy of the Tyler Tribune. An eight-page weekly owned and edited by Henry Edwards. It is devoted to enlargement and exploitation of the agricultural possibilities of Smith County. If one sees Henry once, one never forgets, for he is one of those fellows who impresses one that character is present. The Tribune is printed on good stock and very black ink is used. It carries generous advertising and the editorials are pertinent and relevant and reflect the thought of the writer. Henry is one of those Texas writers and his annual vacation is the short course at A. and M. I clip this from his paper: "At 30 miles per hour you are going 44 feet per second; at 25 miles per hour you are going 38 feet per second; at 20 miles per hour you are going 30 feet per second; at 18 miles per hour you are going 26 feet per second; at 15 miles per hour you are going 18 feet per second. If you see children playing in the street while your auto travels 25 miles per hour and blow your horn when within 100 feet of them, they have less than three seconds to jump for their lives--unless you slow down." Right here in Collegeport men drive past our school campus at speeds ranging from 25 miles to 70. Some day some child will be killed. Wish we had more Henry Edwards in the printing business. He encourages the beautification of farm homes, club work, better crop method. I hope Henry lives for many years. I hate to record that Henry is a Democrat.


The library opened as usual Friday and put out more than sixty books and about thirty visitors registered. This free library is the outstanding civic work in this community Every since it was first started by Mrs. Hurd 25 years ago with 35 books, it has enjoyed a substantial growth and today, with its 1800 books, it is well housed in permanent quarters.


Frank Travis gave us a flash-like call last week, his first visit for seventeen years. He weighs around 285 pounds and six ounces and is more than six feet tall in the air. Frank is in charge of a church in West Texas.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, October 31, 1935



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Sep. 26, 2009
Sep. 26, 2009